Attention all you self-appointed home chefs: Sure, you might think you know every shortcut and hack in your kitchen kingdom, but the actual chances of that are slim to none. C’mon now, really? All of them? You might want to put those Michelin stars on hold for a minute and get your research on.
Whether it’s a super simple way to cook a meal or just making unique use of an ordinary ingredient to make it extra-ordinary, these hacks will save money, time, and headaches. Brush up on them so when you don that almighty apron, you truly are the king of the kitchen.
1. Use condiment bottles for pancake batter: Spooning ladles full of pancake batter into a hot pan leads to one thing — messy, oblong-shaped flapjacks. By loading it into using any condiment squeeze bottle, the batter will form perfect circles.
2. Homemade cinnamon rolls: Loading up on tubes of cinnamon rolls gets expensive. So, get this: brush a rectangular layer of dough with butter, toss on a healthy portion of cinnamon and brown sugar, roll it up, and slice it into pieces using floss. Boom!
3. Use foil to modify baking sheets: We can’t all have perfect-size baking sheets for every type of food, but don’t splurge on them even if you have only one size. Use foil to section out the sheet so you can cook your veggies on one side and protein on the other.
4. Make perfect peanut butter: Flatten out a fat dollop of peanut butter onto a baking sheet using a rolling pin, and then freeze the whole thing. Once it hardens, cut bread-sized rectangles and plop it right in between those soft grainy layers.
5. Cook fish in a jiffy: If you’re trying to enjoy a nice cut of the ocean’s finest offerings and you have no foil, don’t fret! Place the filet on a metal spatula, cover with some lemon for flavoring, and let that bad boy sit on the grill until it oozes with deliciousness.
6. 60-second eggs: Instead of wasting a skillet making only one lone egg, crack it into a mug and throw it in the microwave for 60 seconds. You’ll find the end result is a perfectly cooked incredible edible meal.
7. Skillfully remove cherry pits: Trying to take out cherry pits without accidentally squishing the entire thing can seem impossible — so use a safety pin. With the pin locked shut, dig it into the top of the cherry and work it around the pit until it pops out.
8. Keep avocados fresh for longer: Oxidation affects certain food way quicker than others, and unfortunately, those delicious avocados you bought fall victim to browning fast. But, brushing them with lemon juice helps them keep for much longer.
9. Don’t brush on oil; spray it!: Relying on your olive oil bottle-pouring skills can be a risky move; it’s way too easy to glug out more than you’ll ever need. To combat this, fill a spray bottle with the oil and get your spritz on!
10. Banish that fishy smell: While diving mouth-first into a fish is more than enjoyable, that lingering fishy smell on your hands from the prep is thoroughly unenjoyable. However, if you squirt some toothpaste onto your skin and rub it in, it takes that stank away.
11. Open wine bottles like a boss: Did you show up to the party and realize there’s not a corkscrew in sight? Well, as long as there’s a butane flame available, you can heat up the neck of the wine bottle and watch the cork rise up like a David Copperfield trick.
12. DIY cookie cutters: So you want to bake some awesome-shaped cookies but you have no cookie cutters, right? Well, if you have foil there’s no need to hit the store in search of some. Simply bend a piece of foil to whatever shape you want.
13. Separate egg yolks: Most people, when separating egg yolks from egg whites, filter the whites through their fingers while they pass the yolk from one hand to the other, back and forth. Avoid gooey hands by using an empty water bottle to suck up the yolks with ease.
14. Keep bananas super fresh: We can all agree a black and mushy banana is a disgusting banana. To prevent those unsightly blotches from making unwanted appearances, place foil over the end of the bunch and watch ’em stay yellow!
15. Soften butter quickly: Although microwaves will soften a stick of butter, they’ll always heat it unevenly so half of it’s mushy and half turns to soup. If you heat up a glass and hold it over the stick, however, the whole thing softens evenly.
16. DIY peeler: So you need to shred some veggies but, oh no! No peeler in the kitchen! Luckily, if you have a knife and a thin metal rod, fashion it like the picture below, attach it to the knife, and use it just like a store-bought peeler.
17. Turn an old can into a new grater: If you’re looking for a way to grate some cheese without shelling out loot on a new grater, use an old can! Once it’s washed out, drill rows of holes into the side, and you’ll have yourself a nice mound of Parmesan cheese!
18. Open tight lids with the ease of Hercules: Are you feeling weak and frail because you can’t pop that lid off of those crisp Vlasic dill spears? Avoid the embarrassment by placing the jar upside down in warm water for 15 seconds.
19. Sharpen knives using glassware: Even though you might think a sharp knife is more dangerous than a blunt one, sharp knives have a much smaller chance of slipping into a finger during a cut. If you’re missing a proper sharpener, the bottom of a glass mug works just as efficiently.
20. Peel a hard-boiled egg : Most people slowly pick off little pieces of their shells until it’s finally removed. While this method isn’t wrong, it’s nowhere near as quick as rolling the egg on a hard surface with your palm — off that shell pops like the weasel.
21. If you love pasta but you hate waiting for that giant pot of water to boil, this hack is for you. Use a frying pan full of water instead of a traditional pot! The wider area of the pan means the water gets hotter much faster.
22. If you love eating pasta but you live alone and you hate the idea of having all those leftovers, you can easily boil pasta for one in your microwave. Cover the pasta in water and microwave it, pausing to stir every minute or so until it is just perfect.
23. Not sure if your pan is hot enough to start cooking? Test it by flicking a drop of water on the surface. If the water forms two dancing beads then the pan is ready for you to get to work. Make sure to wipe out the water before you start cooking.
24. Onions are often the base of so many of our favorite dishes. However, as we all know, they can be a hassle to prepare. That’s why this hack is so ingenious: Dice up a bunch of onions at once and save them in the freezer. Next time a recipe calls for some chopped onion, you’ll be ready.
25. Speaking of chopping up stuff and saving it for a rainy day, you can also put any leftover chopped scallions you have into an empty water bottle and store that in the freezer. They will keep for two to three months, which is plenty of time to use them all!
26. Poached eggs are a delicious addition to any breakfast or brunch. That said, they can be a real bother to cook. This hack solves all that! Pour a bit of white vinegar into the boiling water to make the egg easier to handle and to keep it from getting stuck to the sides of the pot.
27. This is a hack everyone who cooks needs to have in their back pocket. Moisten a paper towel and put it beneath your cutting board before you sit down to chop. The moist towel will keep the board from slipping around!
28. If you love cooking and eating a nice homemade dinner, but you feel like you never have time, look no further than this hack. Store chicken breasts in a bag of your favorite marinade and freeze them. Then, the next time you need dinner, just defrost and go!
29. This hack can turn any meal into a truly gourmet dining experience. Chop up some of your favorite herbs and store them inside of ice cubes trays filled with olive oil. These frozen herbs and oil will elevate the flavor of almost anything you make.
30. Microwaving leftovers is easy, but it can also be a real crapshoot when it comes to quality. To make sure last night’s dinner tastes just as good tonight, place a moist paper towel over your plate before microwaving it. The steam will make everything delicious.
31. Recipes that require sticky ingredients like honey or molasses are often delicious, but they are tough to prepare using measuring cups. Coating your cups with cooking oil or olive oil can solve that problem!
32. Working on a recipe that calls for you to crack a couple of eggs? Easy enough! All you need to do to avoid getting tiny bits of eggshell inside of your bowl is to make sure that you crack the egg on a flat surface and not on the edge of the bowl itself.
33. Accidentally drop a piece of eggshell into your bowl? In order to get out tiny bits of cracked eggshell from your mixing bowl, simply wet one of your fingers with water and gently touch the shell shard. It will easily stick to your finger!
34. Peeling garlic is such a hassle. The delicate outer skin sticks to everything—and that includes to the garlic bulb itself! If you want to peel garlic quickly, all you need to do is put the garlic in a bowl with a lid and shake it very hard. When you’re done, you’ll have naked garlic.
35. You probably already have salt and pepper mills in your kitchen, but to really up your culinary game, you’ve got to try investing in salt and pepper pots. These containers make it easy to grab pinches of spice to season as you cook.
36. This is a delicious time-saving hack for anyone who loves whipping up a nice pasta. If you want to add some veggies into the mix, simply strain your pasta over frozen peas! This will cook up the peas quickly without adding an extra step to the cooking process.
37. Before you set out to chop up something very finely with your nice kitchen knife, wipe the blade with a touch of olive oil. This will help keep the stuff your mincing from getting stuck to the surface of your knife and getting in the way.
38. There are so many hacks out there that supposedly prevent your brown sugar from becoming hard, but this is the only method you actually need. Seal your brown sugar and store it inside of the refrigerator. It really doesn’t get any easier than that.
39. If you’re looking for ways to keep you chocolate chip cookies nice and fresh, try this hack. Simply pop a slice of bread or a marshmallow into your container of cookies to help keep them moist. It really works!
40. Hard-boiled eggs are a delicious and healthy snack. However, preparing them can make them ridiculously difficult to peel and keep them in just one piece! If you’re looking for a way to enjoy this snack without the hassle, try steaming your eggs together instead.
41. Preparing squash is a huge part of cooking in the autumn months. It’s delicious and so good for you! Unfortunately, it’s tough to cut into. If you want easier access to this squash, go ahead and microwave it first to soften it!
42. Cutting up bell peppers is so annoying! Sure, they are yummy and provide such a singular flavor, but those darn seeds get everywhere. However, if you lay the pepper on its stem and follow the rounded edges with your knife, you can free the edible parts of the pepper without sending seeds flying.
43. One of the best things about cooking with a cast iron skillet is how each meal you make helps season the pan over time. You don’t need to ruin your pan by using soap to clean it, either; just cover the bottom with salty water and let it boil. This will remove almost any food debris.